EJ Manuel returns to Bills practice

EJ Manuel returned to Bills practice Sunday.
EJ Manuel returned to Bills practice Sunday. (Via @BuffaloBills)

Shortly after wrapping up an impressive preseason that all but locked him up as the starter, EJ Manuel underwent a minor "procedure" on his knee for an injury suffered against the Vikings in the third week of the season. The start of the year looked like an unrealistic target date, but Manuel has already returned to practice.

The Bills tweeted out the news on Sunday afternoon and then passed along the photo of Manuel you see above and below.

After Manuel went under the knife, things looked a little dicey for Buffalo at the quarterback position. Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion that could potentially cause him to retire; he's since been put on the season-ending Injured Reserve. Matt Leinart was signed (and later released) as a free agent and the Bills acquired former Duke quarterback  

Undrafted free agent rookie Jeff Tuel was the starter by default.

But the Bills left a hint that Manuel could be returning when they decided to head into Week 1 with only two quarterbacks on the roster, as reported by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

It's doubtful the Bills will rush Manuel back for Week 1 if he's not ready, and just a single week of prep time isn't exactly a ton.

But having him available to play at the start of the season would be pretty huge. Buffalo might be high on Tuel but, realistically, he's not going to step in and dominate from the get go. Getting to start their first-round pick when the season opens would be a very welcome surprise indeed.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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